Addo Elephant Park is home to over 600 elephants who are easy to find at wateholes as well as the valleys and plains of South Africa’s third biggest nature reserve.
Situated a mere 120 km from Jeffreys Bay, it is well worth spending a few days at Addo, or even a day visit if pressed for time.
Elephants have a highly developed matriarchal social structure and family herds consist of related females and their offspring from successive generations. The males leave their family herd at puberty (between 12 – 15 yrs old) to become loosely associated in bachelor herds or become solitary.
The females in a family group are in constant communication and protect and look after the babies of the herd.
The matriach, usually the oldest female, is the leader of the family group and all members follow her decisions on when and where to drink and eat.
The are seven family groups in Addo Elephant Park consisting of smaller sub groups, who may break away from the rest of the group for some time, later rejoining their herd with much communication.
Due to the isolation of the Addo herd and the small original population size, many of the elephants are closely related and the genetic diversity is low.
Therefore, eight bulls from Kruger National Park were introduced to instill new genes into the Addo herd, as genetic diversity is vital for a healthy population.
Out of the eight original bulls, only four remain.
Although these bulls did not breed in the first couple of years due to the dominance of the Addo bulls, they are now mating with the Addo females.
The Kruger bulls are now the dominant animals in Addo Elephant Park, with Valli Moosa being the most dominant bull.
The main camp in Addo Elephant Park offers a variety of accommodation to suit various tastes and pockets, whilst in other sections of Addo, accommodation ranges from luxury lodges to basic bush camping.